Charlie Brooker was born in 1971, is an English screenwriter, producer and he presents TV news as well. He is best known as creating the series Black Mirror, which first aired in England in 2011 for Channel 4 as two seasons, then Netflix purchased it and Charlie Brooker created 12 more episodes. Charlie Brooker grew up in Oxfordshire. He attended Wallingford School, then the University of Westminster for doing his BA in Media Studies. He has not only written episodes for Brass Eye, The 11 O’Clock Show and Nathan Barley, but also has presented a bunch of television shows; Screenwipe, Gameswipe, Newswipe, Weekly Wipe, and 10 O’Clock Live. He also wrote Dead Set, which is a horror drama. He has a column at an English newspaper The Guardian as critic. He generally writes about popular culture and TV world, mostly in humorously critical way. He is also known for his presentation of the year events at the end of the year at BBC channel beside Weekly Wipe.
A list of screenplays he written:
The 11 O’Clock Show 1999–2000
Brass Eye 2001
Nathan Barley 2005
Charlie Brooker’s Screenwipe 2006–2008
Rush Hour 2007
Dead Set 2008
Charlie Brooker’s Gameswipe 2008
You Have Been Watching 2009–2010
Newswipe with Charlie Brooker 2009–2010
Charlie Brooker’s 2010 Wipe 2010
How TV Ruined Your Life 2010
Charlie Brooker’s 2011 Wipe 2011
10 O’Clock Live 2011–2013
Black Mirror 2011
Them from That Thing 2012
A Touch of Cloth 2012–2014
How Videogames Changed the World 2013
Cunk on Shakespeare 2016
Charlie Brooker’s 2016 Wipe 2016
Cunk on Christmas 2016
Mr Biffo’s Found Footage 2017
Charlie Brooker is seen as one of the most talented writer in TV World, his reputation that he gained mostly in England with the TV shows got beyond national borders to across to the world, thanks to `Black Mirror`. The Black Mirror series has gotten a lot of praises from both audience side and critics side, for it’s creativity and deeper dimensions of bringing topics such as technology and the future of humanity in another level of understanding, with a completely new and different approach of both its filmmaking tone, language, and also its questions that emerges at the shocking moments of the stories. Michael Hogan from the “The Daily Telegraph” described the first episode, “The National Anthem”, as “a shocking but ballsy, blackly comic study of the modern media”. He also said that “This was a dementedly brilliant idea. The satire was so audacious, it left me open-mouthed and squealing. Rather like that poor pig.”
The Black Mirror series had been screened a big part of the world, countries like China, Sweden, Poland, Turkey, Australia, Spain and Hungary. It captured the audience with its deep, solid, pure ambience and atmosphere that creates many questions on existence, future, sociology, psychology from micro level to macro level. A reporter from The Beijing News wrote that Black Mirror was “an apocalypse of modern world”, “desperate but profound”. Every story in this show has very profound critics on modern world from different aspects. Xu Wen at The Epoch Times thought the stories reveal modernity’s moral turpitude.
The Telegraph writer Sameer Rahim wrote, “The show touched on important ideas – the false way we sometimes present ourselves online, and our growing addiction to virtual lives – but it was also a touching exploration of grief. To my mind it’s the best thing Brooker has done.”
Awards and Nominations:
– Columnist of the Year, British Press Awards (2009)
– Dead Set, Best Drama Serial BAFTA (2009)
– Newswipe, Best Entertainment Programme, the Royal Television Society (2010)
– Best Newcomer, British Comedy Awards, (2009)
– Newswipe, Best Comedy Entertainment Show Award, British Comedy Awards (2011)
– Best Comedy Entertainment Personality, British Comedy Awards (2012).
– 2016 Wipe, Best Comedy and Comedy Entertainment Programme, BAFTA TV Awards (2017)
– San Junipero, Black Mirror, Primetime Emmy Awards (2017)
– USS Callister, Black Mirror, Primetime Emmy Awards (2018)
Jesse Armstrong : He is a writer and producer, and cowriter at Black Mirror, known for Four Lion (2010), In the Loop (2009) and Fresh Meat (2011). He began his career writing for BBC and Channel 4. His Peep Show won many awards, including BAFTA. He also received The Writers Guild of Great Britain Award.
William Bridges: He is a writer and director, known for Black Mirror (2011), Stranger Things (2016) and Shallow (2012) as well as movies such as Prize of Peril, Slasher School, The Apology Line which also has nomination as Best European Short at Cork Film Festival, Dead Hungry which is the winner best horror short in London Independent Film Festival.
Common Theme in his works
Charlie Brooker generally put emphasis on TV world, the effects of technology on mass culture, how the society has shaped by technological developments and how the relationships is affected by the new mediums. His vision is not shiny or hopeful, he takes the dark side of human as an element to tell his stories, intelligent and intellectual mind turns into something destroying which becomes inevitable in his stories. When we watch Black Mirror or his other satiric TV Shows, we often see the dark reflection of modern world. For example in the episode of Metalhead, we see how the technology that human created becomes a big thread that kills people, the security policies become so devastating and there is no place to escape from them. Artificial Mind always act according to rational orders from the powerful people within governments, ordinary people get stuck in their own zone and try to deal with it by isolating themselves but what we see at the end of the episode is full of darkness, hopeless world. Another theme he uses is technology as shaping our relationships appears in the episode Hang The DJ, an app to match the perfect couples, also shows the human needs becomes as a prison that need to be escaped, with the couples who attempt to get out of the algorithmic universe which is created by higher technological system. The Simulation conscious runs independently from the real conscious, in which people do not remember their past, our heroes try to be aware of the system while they are trying to find a a way to escape from this simulation. As seen in this episode, romantic relationships, new technologies, social classes, social network has taken a big part of many episodes of Black Mirror. Black Mirror created his own terms and language that is seen as `Black Mirror Fact`, telling deeper side of psychology, human metabolism, media, data, war, virtual life, education and taking these themes in a place where the delight and discomfort come together and keep the audience suspicious and make them ask big questions about their existence, life, relationship with society etc. Brooker explained this as he wants to get under the skins of the audience and into their mind to aggravate them. The episode Darkangel tells a story of a mother trying to protect her daughter but with very close attention, with the high technological opportunities to observe closely, in the shade of this technology, the relationship between the mother and daughter has many underlying issues, oppression, intimacy, motherhood, guilt, controlling, which are the common ongoing issues in modern societies.
An analysis of subject matter in the writer’s work
The quote from Charlie Brooker explains briefly about his thought on his work: “If technology is a drug, and it does feel like a drug, then what, precisely, are the side effects? This area, between delight and discomfort, is where Black Mirror is set. The ‘black mirror’ of the title is the one you’ll find on every wall, on every desk, in the palm of every hand: the cold, shiny screen of a TV, a monitor, a smartphone.”
Every episode is set up in dystopian future, but it does not look distant or different from what we really live today, we give stars to places, restaurants, measure them, the next step is giving stars to people. The more star means the differentiation, the social status, eventually social discrimination take over all places where human lives. Charlie Brooker’s attention is always on big issues, he likes to tell it from micro level, using very simple human life, someone as the décor, as background. We often see victim’s life in broaden, cruel world where injustice, social discrimination, alienation, carelessness take a huge place in society. He also uses the basic social needs such as being accepted, being approved, being in part of a group, having a relationships and put them in a context where the new technology, artificial intelligents, simulations emerges from them but also becomes a prison to capture people soul, and what is left is heartless, cruel, soulless world that leave the audience with a sense of despair, scare, hopeless and darkness. The addiction of new technologies becomes the ending of humanity, because people give the control to algorithmic artificial intelligent systems, for hoping the best for themselves, Charlie Brooker put a light and emphasis on how strong and bad the result of this living can be, his critics contains a sharp vision, he very well knows where to look and how to look, and what to get from there. What can people sacrifice in search of happiness, or what they think as happiness, their whole life? This question arises when we watch for example the episode Crocodile, how far you can go? The girl goes so further to protect her lifestyle she gave her years to create, she can even kill innocent people. What we see is not only a strange story, the sense of reality, and its possibility to happen also covers us and make us ask very intimate questions about ourselves, Charlie Brooker dives into deep level of the audience, and make them feel disturbed with the reality of themselves, that’s why he named this show Black Mirror, when the screen shut off and we see our faces on the black screen, this disturbing moment is actually the main part of the truth about our life, not when the screen is on. He likes to deal with discussable, modern topics about humanity’s relationship with technology very sharply and directly, he sometimes uses SciFi universe and themes within a crime genre that provides surreal scary realization of results that are actually about our daily lives.
His sharp, critical vision is not only seen in Black Mirror, actually, in all his TV shows have the same approach, he uses sketches he has created himself and some footages from different sources, news, or TV, combining them and presenting in a sarcastic, cynical way, but with very vital observations and disturbing jokes, his tone is brutally honest, sarcastic, aggressive, and sometimes offensive, that we see as the underlying tone of Black Mirror as well. But we have no evidence that he has any anomaly or outlier known, other than creating this super intelligent, dark, disturbing but genious TV show.